This is the second blog post on my return from the pandemic. We finally made the opportunity to return to France and get back on the canals. The image illustrating this blog post is our canal boat tied up near a lock with a delightful park all around us.
For those folks that are new to my work let me introduce our favorite travel and photography location. We rent canal boats from a company in Europe called Locaboat. (www.locaboat.com) They have canal boats made for their company that resemble 18th century French canal barges. They are well thought out and functional. You can go to their web site to see locations, maps, and tours of the boats. The cruising is typically very slow – about 10 mph – which allows lots of opportunity to see the countryside and take lots of pictures! You can also stop almost anywhere, tie up, and explore – again, more opportunities to take photographs that many other photographers will never see.
The ”Places” portfolio on this (July 2022) update of the web site are images from this year’s trip. We traveled to Brittany – the area of France that is the north and west area of France that sticks out into the Atlantic – just south of Ireland and Britain. The area is mostly a canal – there is a difference between canals and rivers – and was very easy to navigate. We traveled from St Martin sur Oust to Josselin and back. That’s for those of you that use Google Maps and are now looking at the locations.
It was good to get back on the water. Our previous trip had been the Canal du Midi in September 2018 – so it had been a while! Navigating and piloting the boat came right back. One question we always get is “Who drives the boat?” We do. It’s just us – no crew, other than the people we bring with us. If you’re intimidated by the thought – the boat goes 10 mph and has lots of rubber around it. Buy the insurance.
The boat is a very stable platform for photography. However, we take lots of pictures off the boat as well. As I said, we tie up and do lots of exploring. The trips that are laid out on the Locaboat web site typically take around 4 hours of motoring per day or less. Lots of time to explore. We also might crab a taxi or a train to take us to other locations near the boat.
On a trip like this, it’s not just the boat travel. On the way to pick up the boat we stopped in Rennes – a pleasant, good-sized city. It has the second-largest outdoor market in France. Turned out the market started just outside the windows of our AirBnB…. After the boat we stayed in St Malo – a coastal vacation town on the English Channel. On the way home we stayed a few days in Paris. On the way back to Paris we did a side trip to Mont Saint Michel – an island-based abbey that is one of the top tourist attractions in France. It did not disappoint.
We already have two more boat rentals in France booked – and planning through 2024.